· The Bishop of Daejeon speaks about the Pope's upcoming encounter with Asian youth ·
When it was announced that the 6th Asian Youth Day would be celebrated in South Korea this year from 14 to 18 August, the organizers began preparations counting on a maximum of 6,000 participants. That was indeed the enrolment up to the day of the announcement that Pope Francis would attend. From that moment the number spiked and, today, approximately 90,000 requests have been received. Bishop Lazzaro You Heung-sik of Daejeon, the host diocese for Pope Francis' meeting with the Asian youth, calls this a “miracle due to the intercession of the Virgin”. Bishop You Heung-sik described Pope Francis' words to him, that “Miracles happen. They still happen. We have to be able to understand the sign”.
Young people are the future of the Church. This affirmation has been repeating itself for years. How is it read with respect to Korea?
I believe it must begin from a consideration of the laity's role in the life of the Church. For South Korea, as it is known, the laity is at the root of the matter. The laity have been the true leaders of the Church's history in Korea. But it is essential that they continue to be leaders and that this is perpetuated over time.
And what do you think might arise in the heart of the young people from the encounter with the Pope?
I expect a volcanic explosion.
Can you explain in more detail?
I want to say that I expect that thousands of priestly vocations, thousands of girls' vocations to the consecrated life, thousands of missionary vocations, thousands of vocations to the permanent diaconate will blossom on this day. The encounter with Jesus changes life. I hope that in these days, by grace there will be so many to encounter Jesus. This way they will understand, our young people, that even if they are part of a small minority in the Asian continent, they belong to a great universal family, the family of Christ whose heart is the heart of the world.
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